There’s something for everyone with this week’s batch of releases. There’s the much-delayed release of The Current War, Alfonzo Gomez-Rejon’s 2017-premiering film which chronicles the rivalry between electricity pioneers Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, who race to bring electricity to the masses. Featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon, it’s a stylish but ultimately hollow period piece that wasn’t really worth the wait. Roberto Minervini’s documentary What You Gonna Do When The World’s On Fire? fares better, as a slow-burning exploration of the socio-political framework of the American Deep South. There’s also the crassly exploitative Belgian horror-comedy Yummy, which should delight gorehounds, if few others. If you’re heading to the kino this week though, make sure it’s to watch Levan Akin’s And Then We Danced, a stunning queer romance set in conservative Georgia. Billed the dance school answer to Call Me By Your Name, it’s a powerful reflection on identity and self-acceptance, and a must-see. (Neukölln’s Rollberg and Schöneberg’s Xenon Kino are screening it every night with English subs, so a trip down south is well worth considering.)
If you haven’t seen them already, two of our favourites from last week are still playing: Berlin Alexanderplatz is regularly screening at Hackesche Höfe Kino, while After Midnight is showing on Tuesday 28th at b-ware! ladenkino at 10.45pm.
Outside of general releases, we recommend Arsenal’s Andrei Tarkovsky retrospective. Solaris and Stalker are both screening on the 24th and the 29th respectively. The latter is an oft-bypassed but essential film in the director’s filmography, a sci-fi art film loosely based on Boris and Arkady Strugatsky’s novel Roadside Picnic that has inspired countless others, from Alex Garland’s Annihilation to HBO’s series Westworld.
On the Freiluftkino side of things, there’s heaps to enjoy. Of note is the Monday screening of Moonlight on the 27th at Sommerkino Kulturforum (9.15pm – make sure to check out our interview with the Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins, who talked to us about his beautifully observed and daring coming-of-age story) and the double-helping of the extended version of John Landis’ The Blues Brothers, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The 1980 classic is screening on the 27th at Pompeji Freiluftkino am Ostkreuz (9.30pm) and the 28th at Freiluftkino Hasenheide (9.15pm), both in OV.
Our top pick is tomorrow’s showing of Arturas Jevdokimovas’ excellent documentary Second Hand, screening as part of Litauisches Kino Goes Berlin – the platform showcasing Lithuanian films and culture in Berlin – at Cassiopeia (9.30pm, with English subs). The director will be there to present his tragicomic film about EU emigrants telling their stories about the UK’s second-hand charity shops and the second-hand clothing industry, which conceals exploitative methods behind a charitable façade. It’s a lively and eye-opening piece about donated garments that exposes little-known facts about some genuinely degrading and inhumane practices, as well as the lifestyle of Lithuanian emigrants in the business.
Our final pick is Mobile Kino’s screening of our favourite film of last year, Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, on Saturday 25th at Weissensee (9.30pm), with those hard-to-find English subs. For the love of all that’s good and pure, don’t miss out on Céline Sciamma’s breathtaking period piece, which is truly one of the most beautiful and captivating films you’re likely to see outdoors this summer.
Speaking of Mobile Kino, keep your eyes peeled for their new programme, Trash Cinema: The Best of the Worst, which starts next week. Indeed, just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse, Berlin’s traveling pop-up cinema is showing the worst films you’ve ever seen with their utterly delightful selection of treasure-in-trash, so-bad-they’re-good flicks. So, if you’re a not-so-closeted lover of the Citizen Kane of bad movies The Room, a Pazuzu-help-you aficionado of last year’s utter fucktastrophe Cats, or need your yearly fix of Elizabeth Berkley writhing around in a swimming pool like a carp on speed in Paul Verhoeven’s 1990s masterstroke Showgirls, then this might be the summer event for you. Taking place at The Student Hotel right next to Jannowitzbrücke train station, these open-air screenings start next week, and the series runs into August (with the Berlin premiere of You Don’t Nomi, Jeffrey McHale’s Showgirls doc). We’ll keep you updated next week, but it’s worth booking some tickets in advance, especially for Showgirls, screening on the 31st at 9.30pm.
That’s it for us this week. Happy indoor and outdoor screenings, book your tickets online and keep wearing your masks.